Western Digital Caviar SE16 (WD6400AAKS)
Great value hard drive for a PC or media centre
- Very low cost per formatted gigbabyte, excellent performance, cool and relatively quiet operation
- Still not completely noise and vibration free
This drive represents Western Digitals move to higher-density platters, and with its two-platter 640GB capacity and $169 price tag, it's a perfect example of how affordable modern mass-storage devices are.
Price$ 169.00 (AUD)
With two 320GB disk platters, this 3.5in Caviar SE16 desktop drive is the most densely packed in Western Digital's arsenal. It's aimed at users who want plenty of performance.
With more data located on each platter than in previous SE16 models, it means that fewer platters and therefore heads are required inside the drive. This means the heads can access more data with shorter movements, helping to boost performance significantly. Not only that, but with less platters and heads in the hard drive it should run cooler and with less noise emissions and vibration. The 640GB (596GB formatted capacity) drive features a 16MB cache, NCQ and a 7200rpm spin speed.
The two-platter 640GB density has been achieved by using perpendicular magnetic recording, which gives Western Digital the option of building either single-platter 320GB hard drives for the mainstream market or four-platter 1280GB drives for the upper-end of the enthusiast market. So for now, the 640GB model can be considered a mid-range product as far as capacity is concerned. Its performance, however, places it in the upper echelon of fast desktop drives perfect for gamers and users who work with video or other disk-intensive applications.
In our tests, the drive averaged read and write speeds of 70 megabytes per second and 70.7MBps, respectively, which are both excellent results. Nevertheless, they're still a little slower than premier drives such as Seagate's Barracuda ES2, or even Western Digital's own RE2 (WD7500AYYS), which were tested on the same platform. However, its result in our data copy test (where we copy data from one location on the drive to another) was stellar: it averaged 35.17MBps in this test, which is faster than any of the recent Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate and Western Digital drives we've tested. This means that the Caviar SE16 will be very fast as a scratch disk for Photoshop or for applications that need to compress and decompress data on a regular basis.
You won't have to pay much at all for this drive, either. With a retail price of $169, its formatted cost per gigabyte works out to be a phenomenal 28 cents! It's definitely worth buying more than one and building a RAID array, especially considering the already-quick results we witnessed from a single drive.
Physically, the drive has a 3Gbps Serial ATA interface and there's nothing special about its casing. After one hour of continuous file transfers, the surface temperature of the drive rose to around 36 degrees Celsius, which is much cooler than some of Western Digital's 7200rpm, four-platter drives — such as the RE2 — so it's a good choice for anyone who wants to build a high-performance slim-line or media centre PC. Also in its favour for media centre use is the drive's noise emission, which was very low. Only slight ticking could be heard during intensive data copy operations. Only the most sensitive ears will be able to pick up the drive's sounds while doing things such as using a media centre to record a TV show.
The drive's power consumption was 5.51W when idle and 6.93W during a full load. These low figures are mainly due to the drive only having to spin two platters, instead of three or four. The drive also features optimised algorithms for its heads, which are supposed to contribute to lower power consumption, heat and vibration. The drive's vibration was minimal and typical of what we've noticed with most desktop hard drives.
In the end, the drive's ultra-low cost per gigabyte, excellent performance and cool operation are all very good reasons to buy this drive if you need more storage space for your PC or media centre.
Join the newsletter!
Modern workplaces come in a variety of shapes and sizes including the traditional cubicle, the open-plan office, and even the family home.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo Find X review: Damn.
- 2 Dell G5 review: An easy-to-live-with laptop that's light on thrills but more than capable of getting the job done
- 3 HAVIT G1W True Wireless Earbuds review: Budget buds with a wireless edge
- 4 Huawei Nova 3e: P20 in a pinch
- 5 Sonos Beam review: A more-affordable, smarter soundbar option
Latest News Articles
- Seagate Unveils 14TB data storage portfolio
- QNAP introduces new affordable 3-bay 10GbE NAS
- Crucial launches BX500 SSD
- Crucial launch DDR4 2933 MT/s registered DIMMs
- Samsung announces the X5, the company's first NVMe SSD
PCW Evaluation Team
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Oppo Find X: Full, in-depth review
- Panasonic FZ1000U OLED TV: Full, in-depth, review
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?